Monday Mission: Advent 2021 (post 1)

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“The celebration of Advent is possible only to those who are troubled in soul, who know themselves to be poor and imperfect, and who look forward to something greater to come.” ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

So in reading Keachfan’s blog post yesterday I realized that there is a whole lot more to Advent than I had realized. Though I’ve been following Christ for 45 years I haven’t been schooled in this period leading up to Christmas as I have in other things. So this year my mission is to dedicate myself to the study of Advent. But wait! There’s more!

The Lord put a blog post by one of my favorite bloggers, Rich Maffeo, in my path this morning and it reached in and grabbed my spirit (as He knew it would, thank you Father!) and gave me hope about these next weeks! If you would like to join me on this quest I will be blogging about it here at my own site and at my SaviorConnect blog (which is based upon this one).

I don’t often share much about the trouble in my soul, but maybe I should; maybe it’s time. Rich touches on (see paragraphs 15 & 16 of the referenced blog post) something I never talk about, let alone write about in a public forum such as this. But maybe part of this personal mission involves such sharing, and asking for prayer as well. My biggest hope is that I can finally, once and for all, overcome the hindrances in my relationship to my heavenly Father that I have struggled with for all of these years. Our relationship with our heavenly Father is influenced by our relationships with our earthly fathers, that is a given. And though my Daddy was loving and supportive and fun and always there for us, he had a temper that would occasionally – rarely, but enough that it has affected me deeply – flare up unexpectedly. His words weren’t cruel in any way but his deep booming voice when raised in these rages would literally rattle windows, and left larger-than-life expectations of the hammer suddenly falling when I least expected it, crushing my assurance of his love; it didn’t feel unconditional, and I never could figure out what the conditions were.

What is that lie Satan wants to plant in our hearts? It’s the idea that paints God as an angry, capricious, and hard taskmaster who stands in front of His throne with a whip, watching our every move, eagerly waiting for you and me to mess up so He can lash into us.” ~ Rich Maffeo, Falling in Love — First Sunday of Advent 2021

Add to this the experiences in my first marriage of physical violence as well as emotional abuse whenever I would let my emotional guard down or let myself be otherwise vulnerable…well, there are scars that I’ve been trying to deal with on my own for many years, but they all combined have clearly have significantly hindered, apparently, my ability to relate to God as a loving Father.

And so, for many, they transfer their childhood experiences with their earthly father to their heavenly Father. And Satan, having planted that lie about their heavenly father in their minds, he reaps a damaged soul who cowers from the One whose arms are spread apart on that wooden beam, inviting them into His embrace. ~ Rich Maffeo, Falling in Love — First Sunday of Advent 2021

So after I learned, last night, the meaning and purpose of Advent I found some devotionals that I can follow, as well as a couple of other Advent-related resources to study and use to better understand and participate in the season. In addition to that, I determined that I will immerse myself in readings and prayer to get rid of that lie about my heavenly Father, once and for all. I will share much of it here (but probably won’t get any more personal in this public space than what I already have); if you’d like to follow along and stand with me in prayer I will include Advent 2021 in the title. I desperately long to be one of those who can celebrate Advent with the assurance of something greater to come, at Christmas, and until Jesus returns.

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